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Constructivism

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by

Jack Amoureux

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Constructivism

CONSTRUCTIVISM Context Failure of IR theories to predict or even understand the end of the Cold War ■Perestroika—Reconstruction
■Demokratizatsiia—Democratization
■Uskorenie—Acceleration
■Glasnost—Openness IR scholars inspired turn to sociology, philosophy and anthropology: social/ideational aspects of IR language and discourse > identity and policy qualitative methodology (interpretivism) CORE PROPOSITIONS OF CONSTRUCTIVISM 1. Scientific analysis of IR is flawed 2. Reality is socially constructed through social interaction 3. Agents and structures are co-constitutive 4. Social content of IR: identities and relationships, practices, and institutions 5. Importance of process No objective and universal social laws
Thinking and reflecting human beings Human beings are social beings
Structure is social structure: 'Anarchy is what states make of it' People (states) make society (international society) and society makes people
Structure: stable pattern of rules, practices and institutions
Agency: choices, 'norm enterpreneurs' Hobbesian (enmity)
Lockean (amity)
Kantian (comity) Identities relationships state, EU state, global citizen norms, rules, practices and institutions Norms- widely shared ideas and actions
Rules- govern how norms of conduct are observed
Practices - what agents do (whether and how they observe rules)
Institutions - stable patterns of rules and practices STRUCTURES AGENTS Rules Practices (an ideational structure that supports particular identities) (actors and their identities and interests) (choices about whether and how to follow rules; acting on behalf of interests) (embody norms and are advanced through socialization) STRUCTURE AGENTS Rules Practices Process helps us understand change and stasis IDENTITY: the stability of identity is about ongoing practices that represent the self and other in certain ways PRACTICES: the stability of practices depends upon actors following the rules of the practice Possible sources of change 1. actions 2. argument and persuasion 3. ethical dilemmas violating rules
interpreting rules differently instrumental/practical arguments
identity arguments
scientific arguments
ethical arguments 'hard cases' - unclear what ethical conduct is
new technology
unexpected events
conflicting norms Norms of international society Frost: there is substantial agreement on these, which can help us to tackle the hard cases 1. Preservation of sovereignty and a sovereign system of states
2. Self-determination of peoples and non-intervention in domestic affairs except in cases of self-defense
3. Well-being of own citizens is prioritized
4. International law, especially rules about when and how to go to war, maintains the peace
5. Sanctions and diplomacy are appropriate for security
6. A system of economic cooperaiton is desirable
7. Democratic institutions and human rights Scientific IR: treats actors as always the same over time
self-fulfilling prophecy of theories--not a test of a separate reality Focus on understanding instead Why did the Cold War end? Constitutive rules Regulative rules Who are the agents? What can these agents do? (e.g., Arab Nationalism, the Cold War, the'Washington Consensus, International Law) When rules and practices are fairly stable they are 'institutionalized'
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